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  1. 7th of Tobias’ Bounty, 1857 So it came, another weary night for the old Duke of Cathalon. He had spent the eve pacing his halls, ever drained from the ordeals of recent years. Once he had all the piss and vinegar of youth, but father time had seen to that. His hand grazed over a dusty windowsill, recoiling as he took notice of the wrinkles that adorned the appendage. “All that you see before you is yours, dear. From the River Reden to the Petra, all that falls beneath the statue of the horse is yours.” He heard his mother say, recalling the touch of her hand on his brow and the golden tresses that would wreath him in an embrace. It was a simpler, boring time. It almost moved the Duke to a smile, were it not for the dagger that punctured his mind for daring to recall. Her death was but the first that he could not put right, the thought unsettling him as he gave a final look out over the hills dissolving into dusk. Beside him now paced a phantom of his younger days, moving through the vaunted Cheval Hall. He sparred with the pottery as a boy, practicing his spins, twirls, and pirouettes as he had been taught. Below he saw himself drinking with friends, belligerent in his candor as he socked a bard in the mouth. He also saw his sister come and go, the presence of his elder sibling he greatly missed as she departed at last with an easel and wrapped portraits. Arriving at the door of his bedroom, he took a glance back to it all now. Where once had been visions of himself, he saw his children scurrying about the halls. In one corner his sons Helton Rhodes and Owyn Leopold quarreled, fighting over whose turn it was to shoot the arbalest. Another he saw his daughters Henrietta Therese and Francesca Ada fuss with their dresses and braiding each other’s hair. At the windowsill he saw Guinevere Amadea throw down a rope of bedsheets to escape for the night while Saturnina Cyrille fidgeted with her hands, contemplating tattling on her younger sister. Then there was Daphne Priscilla, no more than four at the time, cradling the newborn Laurentina Marigold wrapped in swaddling clothes. The Duke lingered there for a time, finding some small contentment before the beat of his heart struck like a hammer, pressing him on. Within his room was darkness as he was greeted by a pale specter of a woman whose back was turned to him, Raven-haired, he knew it to be his wife Leopoldine Vivien and so the Duke moved to embrace his beloved. He imagined the warmth of her touch, shutting his eyes as tears sprung forth and dripped through the vision of his wife. Still, however, she did not turn to him. “You know this is not real…” she murmured to him, “I know.” He murmured back, collecting himself after a few breaths. When the Duke opened his eyes the specter now faced him recalling every gruesome detail of the dead woman. She was devoid of eyes, peering at him with empty sockets that bleed over her porcelain skin, her neck ripped and torn open as if by some savage beast. Thus did the Duke’s torment begin and every image of his dead loved ones appeared within the room. The twisted form of his mother Blanche, broken by the fall she had taken. The contorted neck of his daughter Daphne who had likewise fallen from a height, unable to breath in her last moments. Then there was his eldest daughter Henrietta who had perished most recently. He had only seen after she had been prepared for the funeral pyre, but nevertheless the eerie stillness of her form was enough to unnerve him. So many were gone now, what a truly terrible thing it was for a father to outlive a child. Beyond the dead, however, the Duke saw a light come through in the windows of his bedroom. The landscape that had so recently fallen into the night was now engulfed in flame. In the shadows cast over the land, he saw the fates that were still to come, small horrors in and of themselves. The Duke shut the curtains and turned to the dead. “I’ve had enough for the night.” He spoke aloud and they did vanish, leaving him alone in the dark. Shutting his eyes, the Duke made ready for bed, retracing his way around the room from memory. Outside he heard the whinny of a horse and the clip-clop of its hooves, no doubt one from his own stables, paying it no mind he crawled into bed. Thomas Andrew then laid down and died. R.I.P. 1793-1857
  2. Kaedreni Renaissance: THE PEOPLE OF ANGREN Table of Contents I. Overview II. Origins Aeldin, 1420-1468 Athera, 1468-1513 III. Beliefs The Mortal Coil Humanity Monstrocity Fate Civic Virtue IV. Traditions The Many Saints of Kaedrin The Dubbing Cremation The Victor’s Draught Livestock Bovine Peafowls Rhoswenii Liege V. Appearance Physicality Fashion Overview The people of Angren, the Angreni, are modern-day descendants of old Kaedrin, the Fatherland. The Angreni build their lives on the herds they shepherd, ever vigilant of threats made by man and monster to the lands they protect. They are a dutiful and superstitious people set in their ways, who’ve weathered on from Kingdom to Kingdom, Empire to Empire. Zealous in their deposition to protect their ways and suspicious of outsiders, the Angreni seek to preserve their humanity most of all, uncorrupted and unblemished by the ravages of others. For mankind is God’s chosen in His granting of humanity’s ascent into the Seven Skies. Grim as life might be, the Angreni seek the joy in celebration and revelry as one might the warmth of a bonfire. Hearty jubilation is custom, whether it be at a child’s birth, the dubbing of a sword, or the slaying of a great beast, a roar of laughter is sure to bellow forth, along with a round of drinks on the house. The Angreni weave themselves into the tapestry of mankind as warriors and philosophers, as lovers of drink and song, and as keepers of sacred traditions and order. Aeldinic Raiders drive their newly acquired livestock after successfully pillaging a neighboring tribe, 1425. Origins The original term, Angreni, refers to those who settled amidst the mountains of Angren during the Imperium Tertius and Quartus in Athera, and subsequently settled the fields after the destruction of Kaer Angren. Immigrants from Aeldin brought from distant battlefields, the Angreni adapted to a pastoralist lifestyle after decades of warfare. Considered to be a branch of the old Kaedreni, they even go so far as to refer to Kaedrin as their Fatherland, however, the history of the Angreni is not so direct as that. Aeldin, 1420-1468 Beginning first in distant Aeldin, they emerged as warriors during the continent’s subjugation by Emperor Owyn I ‘the Pious’. Highlander by blood, these proto-Angreni descend primarily from stocks of Kaedreni, Waldenians, and native Aelds. From the initial military camps that grew into such cities as Valtian, to the wild Banardian frontier where only monsters dared roam, these soldiers fought on for a variety of reasons, coin and plunder chief among them. The bonds of these once disparate peoples would later be forged into one of faith during their service to the Sparrow Banner of Saint Peter of Gaekrin. The Aelds, serving as pathfinders for contingents of Kaedreni Caerngard, used their knowledge of the land to aid in many pacification campaigns across the continent. Equally decisive in this time was their knowledge of which tribes to tame and which to burn, although this often sparked tensions along old tribal lines, it proved effective in weeding out challenges to Imperial rule. In time this association saw the pagan auxiliaries cast out of the mystic cults of their ancestors, suffering brutal reprisals by their once countrymen. This would culminate upon the Isle of Ynys Mon off the shore of Agathor, where scores of these auxiliary Aelds were given in a bloody sacrifice to summon a demon to stop the Imperial onslaught. Saint Peter and his Kaedreni knights launched the expedition to rescue the Aeld auxiliaries from these cultists, beginning a massacre that drenched the island in blood, further fueling the ritual. Saint Peter himself is thought to have felled the last of these mystics on Ynys Mon before the completion of the incantation, although this came at a terrible cost. The severed head of this cultist spoke the words of a curse before hitting the ground, having absorbed the unbridled power of the surrounding carnage, empowering it to claim the life of Castor Chivay, Saint Peter’s only trueborn son. In honor of their savior, those natives who had been taken captive now readily burned their pagan idols on the pyres that consumed the fallen, renouncing the old ways as they cut into their flesh the Kaedreni Cross. Renewed in the light of the Creator, these new converts found absolution by driving from the land all that which consorted with the magical or strange, their pogroms engulfing much of the continent, with cities such as Setring experiencing pogroms for three whole years on account of the alleged Serpent Kings. The new comradery tempered in these fiery crusades brought these peoples closer, forging together a common identity as warriors of Saint Peter. The Aelds were no longer mere woad painted gauls, they now donned the steel carapaces of Waldenian Landschneckts and the kettle helms of Kaedreni Arbaletriers, with striped pantaloons becoming the fashion of their army, a penchant they were well known by. With peace soon falling over the Aeldinic Empire, it would not be long before these warriors were drawn to other shores, wanting for the frontier of battle. They would find such a battlefield in the Fringe, where they would follow their patron now as Emperor Peter I of the Imperium Tertius. Angreni settlers preparing their cattle to ford the River Nocibur, 1487. Athera, 1468-1513 “Keep the heartlands strong. Go forth and claim this land in the name of Oren!” Saint Peter as Emperor Peter I, 1462. These warriors returning with the Imperium Tertius, and ever loyal to Saint Peter, would fight on in the Fringe War, from Kaldonia to Vekaro, Fenn to Urguan, unleashing their fanaticism upon the strange continent. This was until the Robertine Plague, which greatly ravaged their ranks, blackening their lungs and infesting them with buboes that crippled the joints. With only a few left to toss bodies on the pyre, else the dead might rise again to spread the contagion, the survivors could no longer field the zealous contingents they had in the past for Saint Peter. Taking it as an omen to quell their rage lest they become as consumed as the sons of Krug, the survivors would lay down roots in the Empire’s acquired territories in Athera, a majority settling in the mountains of Angren. There, without further war and conquest to sustain them, the Angreni took on a new identity, seeking a reclusive, pastoralist existence in the aftermath of Marshal Vibius de Sola’s betrayal and the rise of the Imperium Quartus. Where once the campaigning season had ordered the lives of the Angreni, the migrations of the herd now did, moving to higher pastures as the summer months thawed the mountain passes and descending before the winter snows blocked them again; a harmony fell upon the people to dull their fangs of yore. Among these early settlers was the young Saint Foltest of Aeldin, once an Imperial soldier and a native Aeld of Valtian, little is known of Saint Foltest at this time, save his enlistment at the age of thirteen and his service in the Order of the Flaming Rose. These idyllic times would not last, however, as the wars following the Imperium Quartus’s collapse would bring devastation to all of Angren. During this catastrophic period Kaer Angren, the mighty fortress that protected the mountains and highways north, fell to the undead. With their pastures blighted, and their livestock suffering unspeakable mutation, the Angreni were sent into a diaspora that saw them scattered across the continent. Some returned to the mercenary work that had sustained them prior, while others tried their hand at ranching other lands. Without a realm to call their own, and no leader rising amongst them, the people anguished, clinging to the memory of what had been the Fatherland, Kaedrin, and the mountains of Angren that had borne them. Years would pass before the Angreni would have their vengeance against the forces of undeath. At the hands of Saint Foltest of Aeldin, the corrupted fortress of Kaer Angren would be obliterated in whole, reducing the mountains themselves to an ashen field. Upon this newly reclaimed land, the Angreni would settle once more, now under the protection of Saint Foltest in the Reformed Kingdom of Oren. The fiefdoms that comprised Angren during this time would later be reunited by the Saint after his brother-in-arms, Guy Silsbury, bequeathed them before death at the hands of other worldly specters. After this, peace came to the Angreni once more, complete in their lands and now able to return to the herds that had sustained them. For this the House of Helvets, the direct descendants of Saint Foltest, would earn their place as the traditional liege-lords of the Angreni with whom their fate would inexorably be bound. Beliefs The Mortal Coil “Know that our morality is as a whetstone to a blade. Our lives are made complete by its sharpness even if our palms are bloody and bitten by it.” An Owynist Friar, 1424. Life and death are the twin forces by which all men are compelled. Life is to be cherished as a new born son in your arms, a lover’s kiss, or the warmth of the hearth. Yet none of this can come to pass without a prospect of death and oblivion, as dreaded as it might be, dealing upon man the wrinkles of age, the scars of battle, and the chill of the night. To live is to be immersed by this duality, a double-edged sword that cuts as much as it gives. The Angreni must make their peace then with that pale rider, be it with terrified screams or a cackling smile. Mankind is blessed with only a short few years, exceeding no more than a hundred. To prolong their existence beyond such is unthinkable and the abandonment of one’s own humanity, where one abandons what he is, he surely invites a monstrosity into his heart. Humanity “The good book says the world is a garden which God once conferred upon man, and we man have this garden neglected. In consequence, all manner of filth has made its lair here - drowners, ghouls and other kobolds!” Ser Eyck of Denesle, 1458. Humanity is the ember that will not smolder but shall engulf the world in inferno, cleansing it of sin. The enchanted crystal palaces of forgotten elven races, the mithril dwarven holds fathoms beneath our feet, these are but a fleeting shadow of what once was. These sights of grandeur shall return to naught but dust and ash with the passage of eons as their architects turned to legends and fables before them. Despite the longevity of the other races, only the Sons of Horen shall be left through Gehennasnacht, the Night of Hell. It is only through the perfection of the human form that the Angreni believe this salvation can be attained, by pursuing a purity of blood, with bodies unmarred by mutation and augmentation. Monstrosity “Monsters are born of deeds done. Unforgivable ones.” A curse afflicted man, 1532. A grain of truth lies in every tall tale, be it the drowner’s resurrection from a criminal cast down river, or the power of Iblees to exempt his followers from their curse. But all things come at a cost, and to consort with the Deceiver the price is always one’s very soul. Monsters are not only born from deals with devils or vile sorcery, any act of evil can create one, be it a failure to heed old wives’ tales or the desecration of the Creator’s works. Spawned of mankind’s neglect for the world, monsters shall fester in dark places, their ilk growing in turn to threaten that which is good. There are also monsters created not just from man, but spawned from nature’s evil itself, this includes beasts such as the manticore, the cockatrice, and all manner of beastmen. Many tomes exist cataloging these fiends, describing in-depth their behaviors and weaknesses. A common reference for the Angreni is the Helvetii Bestiary, written by Lady Margaux Renée Helvets, which is often embellished to children to spook them into behaving. “It is well known that when a hexer inflicts pain, suffering and death he experiences absolute ecstasy and bliss such as a devout and normal man experiences during sexual congress with his wedded spouse,” Monstrum, or Description of the Hexers. Not nearly as damned, there exist those that tote the line between man and monster, the Marked Men, Hexers, are one such case. Warriors turned by sorcery and mutagenic herbs to fight monsters and do battle with those which lurk. Their abilities blacken their hearts and turn them from the righteous path, instead extorting trinkets and coinage from those that would contract them. Sadly, this is the fate of those who consort with such unclean tradesmen, and the Hexer is best avoided by sane and reasonable men. Nevertheless, they can on occasion prove useful; when the best remedy to fire is another, who better to kill a monster than another monster? Always keep in mind, however, that a Hexer never works for free and one should count themselves lucky if the toll is to be paid only in gold. Fate “Verily I say unto you, the era of the sword and axe is nigh,.. the Time of Madness and the Time of Contempt: Tedd Deireádh, the Time of End.” A prophecy by the last Elder sage of Aeldin, Unknown. Perhaps a holdover from their Aeldinic roots, the Angreni cling fiercely to the concept of destiny and fate. While some might call it mere superstition, the Angreni see signs, omens, as evidence of a preordination of the world. To them there is an equal and opposite reaction in all things where one reaps what they sow or so it is told. Where there is good there is evil, life and there is death, warmth and there is cold and vice versa. If one tempts fate, you had best heed the consequences lest you suffer them eternally. When a black cat crosses your path, it is to be slain and a broken mirror is a mirror you need repair, else misfortune takes you. More than a run of bad luck is incurred by unclaimed debts, for the Angreni despise usury. Debts are to be paid in full else even one’s life may become forfeit. When payment is due, the Law of Surprise may be invoked as an alternative, the price of which is that you have at home but do not yet know. To do so is to meddle with destiny itself, so the law may only be claimed in exchange for saving a life, else fate shall not bless it. Another peculiar tradition is that of Guest Rite, invoked upon a host receiving a gift from his guests and partaking of his bread and salt. The host is then obliged to their protection and security for the night, offering hearth and hospitality to them. While a host may fail in protecting his guests, a matter to be avenged separately, the worst crime is that of a host inflicting harm to his guests and vice versa, where a death shall seal a curse eternally upon the household of the offender. Still yet the most hideous fates are reserved for the most hideous of crimes. Kinslaying, regicide, and treachery unto the human race are among those considered irredeemable, from which only God Himself may deliver divine absolution as He did with Exalted Owyn. As for what destiny lies in wait for all mankind, the Angreni find their answer in the Holy Scrolls: “As you have subjugated the nations of the world and wrought iniquities upon them, so will those nations return upon your people, and their suffering will be thrice over.” (Gospel 7:37) “As in the time of Owyn Godwinson, the people of Idunia will persecute them with false prophets and violations.” (Gospel 7:40) “For when I return, the waters shall thaw and wash over the world, and all shall know My Word, and none will reign as prophet above another.” (Gospel 7:61) “The Sons of Horen shall walk the Seven Skies.” (Gospel 7:62). Amongst these verses of the Book of Sealing, the Angreni interpret the omens that shall prelude the Scroll of Auspice, an apocalypse known as Gehennasnacht. Beset by a coalition of nonhumans, humanity shall suffer thrice over the suffering of every war combined; this shall occur three times over, laying mankind and the faithful low. Next, or perhaps simultaneously, those of mixed heritage shall despoil mankind, leading them into the worship of Iblees as the Leviathan, Vargengotz, stirs. Those who are truly human will be persecuted in this time, facing every manner of violation at the hands of the Adunian; humanity shall persevere only by the same action of Owyn Godwinson, who smote the unrepentant wherever they were found. Finally, the Creator will return and weep over the devastation, the world shall fall beneath the waves, consuming both faithful and faithless. In this deluge only those true Sons of Horen with the knowledge of the Scrolls will survive by walking the Seven Skies, thereby avoiding the destruction of the world. It is for this purpose that the Angreni fashion dogma of the faith, to see themselves and humanity saved from the damnation that is to come. Civic Virtue “He who is not angry, whereas he has cause to be, sins. For unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices, it fosters negligence, and invites not only the wicked but the good to do wrong.” Unknown, 1467. All men are possessed of a certain duty to their country, and this is no different for the Angreni. Where a monster is found it is the duty of a man to see it slain, whether by a blade of gold or a pouch of coin. If a traveler’s wagon is found broken by the roadside, the Angreni is to lend a hand in its repair or to send for another transport. To not do so is to falter in one’s duty to their fellow man, and see oneself bedeviled by a like wickedness. Through the cultivation of such a virtue of reciprocity, the Angreni believe that their salvation may be dispensed and the goodness of the human form made apparent. Traditions The Many Saints of Kaedrin While the Angreni revere Exalted Owyn especially from amongst the Prophets, they hold to a great number of the Fatherland’s Saints, honoring them in their ceremonies and homes: Saint Peter of Gaekrin, Patron of Military Orders, Victory in Battle, and Plight against Heathens, Saint Thomas of Gaekrin, Patron of Virtuous Leadership, Discipline, Frontiersmen, and Kaedreni Peoples, High Pontiff Saint Lucien I of Ulmsbottom, Patron of the Kaedreni Cross, Crusaders, Landholding Clergy, and the Family, Saint Adrian of Leuvaarden, Patron of Statesmen, Lawyers, and Politics, Saint Edmond of Lachsin, Patron of Knights, Hospitality, Baronial lords, and the Auvergnian People, Saint Foltest of Aeldin, Patron of Bastions and Siegeworks, Saint Arianne Helvets, Patron of Archers, the Forest, and Servitude, Saint Rick Felder of Kaedrin, Patron of Heroes, Bannermen, and the Fight Against Setherien. Other than the Saints of Canondom that adorn the shrines and halls of the Angreni, also revered are the heroes of old. Based upon the caste of the Rhoswenii, descendants of those virtuous men of the Order of the White Rose, this culture of heroism is honored in the songs and legends that are passed down along with the Kaedreni Saints. Though not every man named in these tales possesses the dignity of a Saint, they form a crucial part of the surrounding parables that inform the Angreni of what virtues to cultivate and which sins to scorn. Baldir Toov, the first Confanonier. For what good work the man did as a knight, chivalric and righteous, he was given to certain proclivities that diminished his virtue. Adeon Fableknight, the Hexer. While Hexers may in part be abhorrent creatures, Adeon Fableknight was certainly a proficient killer of monsters whose work helped to rid the Fatherland of the magical and strange, clearing the way for humanity to exist. Alexei Nicodemus, Rex Slayer. A greenskin is no different from any other form of monster, and to slay one is no different either. To slay a Rex, the barbaric leader of Krug’s spawn, is however itself an accomplishment worthy of praise. For the Angreni shall always remember Horen’s death at the hands of Krug, the first Kinslayer. Temp Thersist, the Spymaster. Spymaster T, an enigma, many tales circulate of a bald-headed brute whose web engrossed the continent from Godfrey’s reign to the Marshal’s betrayal. Legend tells of a wardrobe wherein an ear from each of the Spymaster’s servants was placed, that he might hear the entire realm with. While celebrated as a figure of nationalism, he is doubly considered to be quite sinister, bordering on villainous at times. Bran Volsung, the Water Mage. While there is some debate as to whether he was or was not a mage, it is known that Bran Volsung did serve alongside the Order of the White Rose. He is remembered for his pagan upbringing and conversion to the faith, from which he would set about bringing others to baptism in many a hidden pool, hence the epitaph. Leric Tresery, the Knife-Ear. Embodying the concept of a “good elf” if ever there were such a thing, Leric set about correcting the ways of his misbegotten race, teaching them their place beneath humanity. Prideful so as to never have his ears clipped by a man, Leric was used to flush out dens of elves that would reside upon human lands, chasing them into checkpoints of the White Rose. The Dubbing The Angreni celebrate the naming of a great many things with much applause and fanfare. There is a certain power to names that the Angreni vest in these ceremonies, whether it be a warrior naming his blade or a lord his castle, a celebration seals it with a toast by the participants. These are to be jovial affairs, replete with barrels of drink and plenty of meat to share, the harder the Dubbing is celebrated, the better its omen. Cremation As for their dead, the Angreni practice cremation, placing their deceased loved ones upon funeral pyres and collecting the ashes into urns. Vigils are held throughout the night as the dead are burned, serving as a final mourning for the deceased. By burning bodies in such a manner, the Angreni aim to prevent the spread of necromancy as well as preserve the humanity of their souls by freeing them to the Seven Skies. The Victor’s Draught “Free Ale! Free Ale!” Pat the Baker, 1353. Upon victory in a battle or a campaign, it is traditional for tavern owners to open their doors to the soldiery, exclaiming “Free Ale! Free Ale!” and serving patrons their reserves free of charge. This tradition dates back to the Anthosian campaigns by the Order of the White Rose, wherein a tavern keep known only as Pat the Baker would mysteriously appear and offer ale before ominously disappearing in the morn. Such an event, known now as the Victor’s Draught, is incomplete without a brawl resulting in three lost teeth, several broken barstools, and the shattering of all empty glass bottles. Livestock Bovine For the common folk, cattle is a primary part of everyday life. Even the poorest of men own at least two heads, and families scrape a meager living out from their milk. For the burghers and larger ranch owners, the meat of their cattle goes toward feeding the hungry masses of the big cities. The beef produced by the Angreni is of high quality, as they’ve spent generations perfecting the methods in raising the beasts amongst the hills and valleys of their homeland. As was once the tradition to migrate their herds up and down the mountains of Angren with the seasons, the Angreni still celebrate this today by donning their prize cows in flowery wreaths and textiles. This is traditionally done in the spring, when the mountain pastures would thaw and allow for grazing so the decorated bovines could be driven through town in a short parade before ascending the mountain. It was not uncommon for excess livestock to be traded and auctioned during this season, leading to more elaborate decorations and adornments to bolster their price at market. Peafowls Peafowls are a mysterious bird to the Angreni; the male peacocks boast magnificent displays used for both mating and defense; they are kept as wards against ill omens. Thought to be imported from the far east by Rhenyari sailors, where the birds live in harems centered around a single peacock. The birds are most often left to wander the gardens and woods of the Angreni, never culled for fear of inviting a curse onto one’s self. It is believed that a peacock’s feathers are able to reflect bad luck on those that would threaten the bird or do it harm. For such, their feathers are highly prized as adornments and jewelry, but must never be plucked until after the bird’s death by natural causes. Rhoswenii Liege The Coat of Arms of the Duke of Cathalon, traditional liege-lord of the Angreni. “The value of the rose lies not in its material, but in the purity of its form.” Duke Thomas Andrew Helvets, 1849. The people of Angren hail themselves as part of the cultural legacy of Kaedrin, the Fatherland, and so they steep themselves in its many symbols and heraldry. Among these, the rose is the most universally revered, the perennial flower is emblazoned upon all, from the buttons of a coat to the stained glass fixtures of their cathedrals. This is owed to the Order of the White Rose, whose work and example is itself synonymous with that of the Fatherland. To this day, the Order’s roots are still felt as the sons of Kaedrin, the Angreni included, look to the Rhoswenii, those living descendants of the Order’s members, to lead them. Amongst these Learned Elders of Rhoswen, the Angreni are guided by the blood of the King Adrian I of Kaedrin, whose line combines the blood of Saint Foltest of Aeldin and Saint Peter of Gaekrin. Today, this lineage is represented in the House Helvets of Cathalon, the dynastic patriarch of Helvets, and its cadet the House Helvets of Rochefort. Appearance Physicality The Angreni take on a pale complexion, described as milky though sometimes freckled. Angreni typically sport fair heads of hair; auburn, red, orange, blonde, and mousey blonde are amongst the spectrum, though black and brown is not unheard of. Men will often stylize their hair with mullets, undercuts, ponytails, mutton chops, beards, or mustaches, but will often not grow out their beards until they have started a family, though this practice is not universal. Women keep their hair long, though oftentimes hidden under veils, hats, hair nets or - for nobility - circlets. However, girls and unmarried women are often seen with open hair or simple braids or pigtails. Angreni eyes are thought to match the fairness of their heads, composed largely of grays and greens; seldom has there been an Aeld without peridot eyes, although the Angreni can of course bear a deep brown due after generations away from their original gene pool. On average, any Angreni is not far from the norms of the human race, some might be tall from the meat and dairy that is a staple in their diet, while others grow rotund instead. Angreni pride themselves on how ‘human’ they are and despise physical deformity. They look upon mutations such as a hunchback or clubfeet as the work of Iblees or witchcraft and will gladly cast them from their lot or force them into servitude. Those afflicted with scaly skin or albinism are thought to be curable, though through some unclean means and are to be avoided. Worst of all, however, are those humans born with elven ears or a harelip, and are thought to be the product of immense sin and miscegenation with elves; these the Angreni would put to the pyre. Fashion Striped Breeches are always in fashion for men, whether worn as hose or over armor. Rich dyes, peacock feathers, and fiery displays are especially coveted, a vanity indulged more often by the nobility than the common man. Otherwise, the Angreni will clad themselves in leather and woolen textiles produced from their herds. This clothing is usually of a sturdier make to better combat the elements, or the odd harpy swooping down from mountain top cliffs. It is not uncommon for men to wear some form of armor in their daily attire, whether that is a studded jacket or a pauldron and chainmail shirt. One might never know what they’ll encounter in the mountains or on the road, so it is better to be prepared. The Angreni often don furs during the colder months or in court. These furs will not be bought from merchants, but rather be that of creatures they have felled themselves. The Angreni also enjoy decorating themselves with golden or silver adornments, as these precious metals are thought to ward away evil. They are a highly religious folk and will often keep a lorraine cross or a rosary close to their hearts. Women often try to imitate men’s fashion by donning the same furs their husbands, fathers, and brothers have hunted. Though it is not uncommon for them to go out and hunt themselves. The ladies of the culture will often be seen with high-collared dresses, usually in warmer colors, though it is not unusual for them to wear shades of green or blue. Working women tend to focus on the practicality of their wardrobe over fashion, but women of a higher social status may often wear impractical adornments, such as massive collars or wide sleeves, to show off their family’s wealth. Another thing that has found itself in the female Angreni wardrobe recently would be aprons. Simple linen ones for the working class and embroidered silks for richer ladies. Credit to @Fie@DelaneyGand everyone else who helped get this out the door. More is planned to expand upon the culture in the future such as describing the society and other traditions but I felt this was a good point to publish it at.
  3. [!] The invitation would be delivered by a courier to all friends and relatives of the O'Rourke's and De Motte's. OOC: Saturday, September 19th 5pm EST. The Church of St. Thomas, Kaedrin.
  4. Written by the efforts of Holy Ser Rymuel Elendil and Otto of Vanderfell during the Kingdom of Aesterwald Compiled and Completed by Arminius von Aesterwald, 1594 A drawing of King Arn Rovin during the Schism Wars, accompanied to the left by a young unnamed knight of the Order of Saint Godfrey, and to the right by an armsman of the AesterKorps Introduction "The culture of the Waldenians throughout the centuries has been one of many questions rather than of definite boundaries for the last century. Many Southeron chroniclers have made their best efforts in recording these quiet people in the cold Northern mountains, but to truly understand a Waldenian, one must first speak to a Waldenian. This booklet is a compilation and completion of the writings of many scribes during the time of the Kingdom of Aesterwald, the first and only Waldenian state to have existed. It is through great work and painstaking searching that such old documents were found, and hopefully the various topics addressed can shed some light into the incomplete picture that the world has of the Waldenian folk." - Arminius von Aesterwald A Note Regarding the terms ‘Hansetian’, ‘Waldenian’, and ‘Vandorian’ Hansetian is the name of the northern people, deriving their roots from the Verge nearly a millenium and a half ago. The term Hansetians is used to describe the overall people of the born of the northern soil and from the loins of the original proto-Hansetian peoples. Waldenian is the name used to denote men and women decendant from those who lived inside the borders of the Kingdom of Aesterwald. One does not need to be Hansetian nor Vandorian to be Waldenian, however it is usually a given. Many current Waldenians can trace their bloodlines to at least one Kaedreni and one Hansetian ancestor. Vandorian is the name used to denote all men and women deriving their heritage from the proto-Hansetian tribe of Vandor, founded by the Chieftain Rovyk. However, since such feats as tracing lineage back is nearly impossible, men and women who carry the traits of Chieftain Rovyk (i.e. blonde hair, blue or hazel eyes, etc.) are commonly called Vandors or Vandorian. This leads to a complication in the culture, for those who can actually trace their lineage back are given Vandor privileges under the Vandalore, while those who simply carry Vandor traits are given a slight edge in social rank. Vander is the name used to denote any descendant of an original Waldenian noble, a follower of the Vander Code, and hence someone under the authority of the Vandalore. Although rare, some men are raised to the rank of Vander through a series of trials and years of study by the Vandalore’s side. Not all Vanders are Vandors, and not all Waldenians are Vanders, just as not all Vanders are Waldenian. Recreations of traditional Waldenian clothing by Southeron tailors Traits Appearance Most Waldenians look typically like other Hansetians - tall, stocky brunettes with almost no completely distinguishable features from themselves in comparison to other ethnicities. Their fair skin, though hereditary, is also a sign of the lack of sun in the highland, and hair rarely bleaches in the sun. Rural men keep their hair and beards long, while city-dwellers often have sophisticated trims. Women are generally expected to keep their hair long and flowing, especially if they have blonde hair. Their heads are larger than their Southeron cousins - mouths larger, eyes closer together, and noses shorter than the average human. Despite their odd proportions, Waldenians are not giants over all men as legend generally has it. Most stand at between five and one half to six and one eighth imperial feet. Though a wide margin, it is only slightly above average for humans. Dress Life in the rural northern mountains has been a traditional shelter for the Waldenian people. The rugged terrain and vast spaces between settlements, and the rest of mankind, have made life miserable for many armies not suited for the complexities of region’s climate. Rather than adorn fancied cloth and uniform, Waldenian folk generally dress in simple woolen tunics and gowns with linen undergarments. Their colors vary depending on regional availability, but popular colors revolve around the Waldenian national colors (black, white, and yellow), and green, for its relative simplicity and humbleness. Most do not wear jewellry, either because they do not have the money to afford a luxury, or that they are simply thrifty and save most of what they earn. Men hold back their tunics with large leather belts, sometimes adorned with engraved decor or strips of fur. These belts serve for utilitarian purposes, often being used to carry the tools of the day and a large dagger. Swords, if carried, are always kept in an appropriate sheath on the hip, and it is considered disgraceful to do otherwise. Among younger men, large swords are considered symbols of status and prestige, and many men will walk around with large, two-handed swords, or “zweihanders”. These swords are cradled carefully in their arms as they walk around. Similarly, axes are also adorned in the same fashion by other, more traditional Waldenian populations. Waldenian women dress similarly, but adorn simple gowns in place of tunics. During the spring and summer, colorful flowers and ribbons are braided through their hair and clothing. Waldenian women do not generally like black or green, and hence keep their dresses in light colors upon availability. Like their male counterparts, many women go about armed with a small dagger, especially if they are travelling on the road. Married women do not keep such weapons handy, but have been known to inflict damage with a sharpened letter opener. There are a few items of clothing that Waldenians never wear, and to wear these articles in the home of a Waldenian is to bring great disgrace to his household. Waldenians never wear pointed shoes, and never wear shoes with laces, electing to wear buckles instead. This serves an actual purpose in being able to maneuver around the rocky terrain better, but Waldenians believe that pointed shoes and shoes with laces are a very demonic feature, and idolize the sin of gluttony. A page from the original Piscatoran Law, as seen in the Kingdom of Vanderfell, 1465 Attitudes and Customs Raising Children Although Waldenians are traditionally rural mountain folk, they have become adept warriors out of necessity in the last two centuries. Their cultural discipline and staunch adherents to traditional values make them prime candidates for professional martial training, and this seed of militance begins with the Waldenian childhood. After learning to walk and speak, children are generally put to work alongside their mothers, performing very menial and repetitive tasks throughout the day. This can include anything from gathering the pick of the day to washing the sides of dusty buildings. The goal of this, eventually, is to build a mentally sound individual who can contribute to the community. This is not to be mistaken as similar to the mindset of the Raevir, who contribute collectively to their society. Waldenians contribute as individuals and are driven by individual gain, which inevitably advances their society. Once old enough, by Southern standards, to start schooling or tutoring, Waldenian children take up an apprenticeship, generally under the same profession as their father’s (daughters will take up the profession of their mothers), but can choose to take up work with a close relative or family friend. They will learn and master this profession by the time they are sixteen years old. While undergoing their job training, Waldenian children also start to perform martial training in the form of basic games. As the sons advance in age, their training becomes more and more formal. Treating Guests Waldenians are known for their sternness and general distrust of outsiders, especially those of Raev ethnicity and descent. This does not, however, prevent them from being very accommodating hosts, and it often overshadows their enormous generosity towards their guests. After getting used to the general paranoia of their surroundings, visitors to Waldenian settlements are usually treated with great curiosity. Usually cut off from the rest of the world for much of the year, Waldenians are keen to hear news from the south, and with it fresh discussion. Waldenian women keep the hearthfire ready to cook various delicacies for any willing to eat, and feasting is a necessary evil to celebrate any guest’s presence. One of the more interesting traditions of the Waldenian people stems from their devotion to the ancient Vander code, and belief of the redemption of one’s self through “second birth”, or the adaption of the Vander code into one’s life. Anyone who is taken in by a Vander household, no matter their race or creed, are granted a sense of immunity until they are ready to travel on. This had lead to much conflict between Waldenian villagers and higher authorities when hunting various criminals. This should not be interpreted, however, to suggest that Waldenians harbor any common enemy or criminal. Those who are determined to use Waldenian hospitality for some sort of advantage usually meet grim fates by the villagers themselves. Vander Code The ancient Vander Code has been used for a millenia by proto-Hansetian tribes and their descendants, and remains virtually unchanged in the present day. The code was popularized by Jack Rovin during his ascension to grandmaster of the infamous Order of Saint Lucien - the legendary pontifical bodyguard of post-Exodus fame. The simple, yet powerful creed dictates to “fight”, or to live a life worth living. The code was so important to proto-Hansetians, a common leader of sorts was elected to maintain the code and observe its practice by various Vanders. This leader eventually became the Vandalore. While all true Waldenians follow the code, only a certain few are able to call themselves Vanders. This includes the Vandor families of ancient descent, and the Vander families raised in the last few centuries by the hereditary Vandalore. Why do Vanders Fight? † To fear the Creator and maintain His Church † † To serve the liege lord in valour and faith † † To refrain from the wanton giving of offence † † To live by honour and for glory † † To despise pecuniary reward † † To obey those placed in authority † † To guard the honour of fellow Vanders † † To keep faith † † To at all times to speak the truth † † To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun † † To never to refuse a challenge from an equal † † To never to turn the back upon a foe † Traditional Law Code A similarity between various Waldenian villages is the odd unification of their various law codes, known as Piscatoran Law. Its name is derived from the centuries old River Piscatoris, which separated the traditional land of Aesterwald from the rest of the world in the realm of Athera. To live under Piscatoran Law is to live north of the River Piscatoris. One of the most important differences between Piscatoran Law and old Imperial Law is the application of Weregild. Weregild is essentially the price of a man as dictated by social rank. When a man injures or kills another man, the assailant is expected to pay the victim or the victim’s family an established weregild, rather than face capital punishment. Before paying the weregild, an assailant is banished from the realm, and failure to pay in reasonable time usually results in a bounty on that man’s head. Waldenian application of weregild varies per region, but is usually united underneath a county or a duchy, with similar social ranks having similar consequences. Weregild can be established either where the crime was committed or from what region a victim was from. Generally, this is left up to the family of the victim to decide. Pride Modern Waldenians strongly consider themselves descendants and inheritors of both Hansetian and Kaedreni culture, especially after the Exodus. This has been applied not only in their social structures, but in their physical endeavors as well. Waldenian soldiers are among some of the hardest-drilled and most productive officers across the far reaching corners of the Empire, taking both the engineering ingenuity of the classical Hansetians and combining it with staunch Kaedreni discipline and fighting technique. If anything, this is most evident in Waldenian architecture. Houses are constructed with strong frames and steep, sloping roofs. Their ground floors are often elevated off the dirt, but so long as the floor is made of stone or wood, it is not considered unclean. Living in the dirt is considered barbaric and otherwise repulsive, hence, cellars are generally only used for storage. In some villages, the master bedroom is put at the highest floor of the house, while some put the master bedroom at the second-to-highest floor, and reserve the highest for a guest room. Much of this is synonymous with Waldenian castle building, often considered the most secure and among the most beautiful ever created. High walls with thick, sloping crenellations dominate Waldenian styles, with multiple successive entryways and sections being used for multiple fall-back points. Waldenian Keeps, although epic in their decor and scale, are also functional as death traps, and have been known for entrapping whole armies. Among the most prevalent examples, however, is the Waldenian Aqueduct, A purely Waldenian invention, aqueducts were used both to access clean mountain water and to remove waste for villages too high to access water from the ground. These massive works of have been known to run for miles in a single direction, gradually sloping to allow the water movement from its source. Accent An enigma of Waldenian culture is the development of its strange accent, a butchered combination of old Hansetian and Common Tongue. Not all Waldenians speak this way, but many of the older families continue a tradition of using Hansetian words and phrasings. Take for example the phrase, “I will get the bread from the oven, little girl.” Many Waldenians would say this “Ich vill get zhe bread from zhe oven, Fraulein.” The sentence structure from Common Tongue is preserved, while old Hansetian words “Ich” are implemented along with a general inability to correctly pronounce “double-u’s” and and “tee’s”. In addition, Waldenians are famous for saying “jo” or “zhou” instead of “you” and “mutter” or “vader” instead of mother or father. (( Much credit goes to Yopplwasupxxx for originally creating this document and for his notes in completing it after all of this time ))
  5. The Order of the Hallowed Flame And the Brotherhood of Owyn’s Torchbearers =The Order’s History= Late into the year of 1520, the Order of the Hallowed Flame was founded by the Magnate of Kaedrin, Cantonus Chivay. Upon the advice of the lord Arstan Bedell, a zealous Owynist through and through, he embraced the faith and took upon the fiery sun of Owyn and his dogma as the sigil of a new creed - a militant force dedicated to the pursuit of justice and these ideals laid out before him by the young baron. At the Order’s core sit the wilted remnants of the Flaming Rose, and other true-hearted Kaedreni men who look to a better future. Though, as the early months of the Order panned out - dissent and mutiny arose amongst the ranks in the form of the young Hadrian Chivay. A man with burning ambition, he openly opposed Cantonus, and upon the death of his kinsman at the hands of an assassin, the title of Grandmaster fell into his hands, and with it, stability came to once more reign. Zealous followers of the Holy Fire all, they heartily embrace the teachings of the Second Flame and their dogma that was once praised by Owyn Godwinson himself. At the core of their belief sits a unbridled hatred for the Harrenites - the shattered remnants of the tyrant Harren’s bloodline. It was Owyn who first drove them from the lands of men, yet they continue to rear their ugly heads in the face of the true sons of Horen, something that shan’t go unpunished by the pious followers of Owyn the Arbiter. The Order of the Hallowed Flame stands as the militant fist of Kaedrin, and the dogma they hail. Holding vigil across the counties of Redmark, Hengfors and Kreden - they safeguard the peasantry and ensure that foreign incursions on Kaedrini soil are met in kind. Injustice across the Commonwealth is met with fire and steel, and those who would dare threaten the virtuous are put to the stake. Yet, their righteous crusade for the purging of all that is wicked and unjust does not end with the Harrenites. Maleficarum do not find solace in the wake of their march, nor do cultists of vile practices and dark creeds. Many a blasphemers have been put to the stake - burned aloft for all to spectate - at the hands of the most just. In this day and age, faith wanes, and rising to supplement it is the zeal and piety of Owyn’s adherents. A new age dawns, and it dawns in fire. =Tenets of the Hallowed Flame= The Order of the Hallowed Flame prides itself in discipline, and in this discipline comes a strict dogma in which each man is required to adhere to. I. Remain Eternally Faithful in Owyn and the Holy Fire It is he, Blessed Owyn, that guides our steel, and his Holy Fire that assures our salvation when we pass on to the otherworld. Never lose faith in Him and His Flame, for to do so would spell doom. Without faith, we cannot ever hope to succeed, and we shall fail as those who came before us have. Faith is our weapon, so wield it true. II. Tolerate not the Half-bred Mongrel, for he is Unclean Each man is required to show no sympathies towards those of mixed blood. And why would they? Owyn led man against the Harrenites, and to accept one into our fold today? A ludicrous notion, and the mere mention of such is a betrayal of our belief. III. Shun the Heathen, who does not love Owyn as We If the basis of our order is built upon the reverence of Owyn, then we must hasten to spread his teachings across the realm. And to those who openly shun his ways, they are no better than the mongrels who lay with elves and pray before trees. Death to him, in the most righteous of fire. IV. Respect your Fellows, who live and die aside Ye At the core of any order is tried-and-true camaraderie. Fight not amongst yourselves, but find it within to make brotherly ties with your fellow soldier. For mutual respect and friendship make a man fight harder on the field to battle, in defense of their comrade. V. Follow your Superiors with Unquestionable Loyalty A matter which affects the discipline of the rank-and-file soldier is the faith he puts into his officers. If there is a lack of faith therein, men are more likely rout when push comes to shove on the field of battle. To allow doubt to fester is to defy Owyn’s teachings. Have faith, for your commanders always know best. VI. Never Falter in the Face of the Enemy To parade fear in the ranks, and to quiver before a foe is the greatest dishonor known. Have faith, for the Fire safeguards us against sword and lance. Falter not, and remain as a redoubt before your foemen and you will have no trouble in dispatching them. =Religious Devotion= No evil can survive the Holy Fire; The Holy Fire enlightens, burns and cleanses. Behold the flame of grace and mercy. True to it’s name, the Order of the Hallowed Flame elevates the Exalted Hero Owyn above all else. For he is their paragon; the embodiment of all things good in the mortal realm, and a righteous emblem of purity and justice shining ablaze alike the sun. Their reverence of him coincides with the reverence of his Holy Fire - sacrifice and prayer are commonplace, and many a men of the Order gather about a brazier at dusk to sing their aves and plead blessings for themselves, their brothers-in-arms and even their fellows - non-believers of the truest caliber who hold a skewed view on Owyn - one which does not align with the beliefs of fire. This faith in Owyn, however, also breeds a hatred for all things of tainted bloodlines. It was Exalted Owyn who brought fire and steel upon the motley of Harrenites underneath his uncle who claimed themselves, truly, to be better than chosen man, those blessed sons of Horen himself who carried with them the harshest curse of them all. Doomed to live a mortal life, doomed to repeat the mistakes of yore. “Tolerate not the Half-bred mongrel” is a statement fresh upon the mind of many ordermen, and this deep-seated hatred is like to remain so long as their faith in Owyn does. At the pinnacle of their trust and faith bestowed upon Owyn is a single ritual practice that makes them starkly different from their peers. The smell of charred flesh is not a pleasant one, yet, all men are commanded to give to the fire, to fan it’s embers. To burn a foeman at the pyre is an act unmeasured in both piety and callousness. Ofttimes, the screams are what give a man his nightmares, yet those of the Order have grown accustomed to it nigh on a daily basis, and that which would make a lesser man’s stomach churn only empowers the son of Kaedrin with fervor and zeal. =Hierarchy of the Order of the Hallowed Flame= -SENIOR COMMAND- Grandmaster Incumbent: Hadrian Chivay The Grandmaster holds supreme command over the entirety of the Order, whose orders are to be followed without question and doubt. This office is to be held until death, and provided that the Grandmaster had not designated an heir, the Master and Commanders shall convene and appoint another through discussion and vote. Master and Commander The Master and Commander typically presides over a single garrison of the Order, responsible for the upkeep and ability of his men. When stationed with the main force, they may also operate a limited portion of the Order or carry out a certain task on behalf of the Grandmaster. -HIGH COMMAND- Captain The Captain is the head of all footmen, in charge of their pay, discipline, and equipment. He will lead the column of men during march, a task which requires patience and prowess in command. Due to the extensive work this position entails, the holder will often be consulted by the Grandmaster upon matters of tactic and war. Senior Knight The Senior Knight is considered a high honor within the Order, the position itself requiring the member in question to be an official Knight of Oren. Commonly, they will serve as advisors to members of Senior Command for their thorough knowledge of all things chivalrous and related to faith. They are allowed to take upon a single squire who will be responsible in aiding him in a matter deem fit, whether that be through combat or the maintenance of his equipment. Decurion The Decurion is a high ranking officer within the Order, tasked with helping the Captain carry out his command of the infantry. They are one of the most veteran Order members, and thus will have numerous responsibilities and duties which are important to the overall functionality of the Order. -LOW COMMAND- Knight The Knight is a seasoned Kaedreni warrior whose faith has been tested through numerous years of dedication to the Order and Owyn. Similar to the Senior Knight, they too are required to be a Knight of Oren. Sergeant The Sergeant is an entry-tier officer, working directly under the command of the Decurion in order to assure that the battle line remains steadfast. He holds the authority to call upon and command a small detachment of the ordermen. -ENLISTED ORDER MEMBERS- Man-at-arms The Man-At-Arms is the rank-and-file soldier of the Order. Equipped with castle-forged steel and a higher salary than that of their footmen counterparts, they have been enlisted into the ranks for a significant amount of time, and are often promoted on the basis of merit or loyal service. Footman The Footman is the entry-level enlisted soldier. Given a bunk, an annual salary and armed with mail and steel, these men make up the backbone of the order and are by far the most numerous amongst its ranks. Discipline is expected, and those who step out of line are punished severely. -UNOATHED- Initiate Initiate is the overarching label for all men associated with the Order whom aspire to enter into her ranks, though have yet to speak their oaths and enter officially into the ranks. -SPECIALIZED RANKS- Messenger(2) Messengers are deployed across the realm, to carry letters and parcels to and from. Ofttimes, swift individuals are granted this position - unoathed or from a pool of lower ranked members. Scrivener(1) The Scrivener is the individual responsible for penning all documents pertaining to the Order. They are responsible for handling the maintaining of the roster and documenting all reports regarding patrols, incidents and so on. Engineer(2) Individuals learned in the matters of siege warfare. These men are trusted as siege masters, and are tasked to design and construct weapons of war to topple walls and bring cities to their knees. Quartermaster(1) The Quartermaster is in charge of keeping the flow of goods, and armaments, documented. They are required to keep the Order well-armed and the warehouse stocked in the case of an external shortage. Drillmaster(1) A grizzled sergeant or Knight, more often than not, the Drillmaster is tasked with overseeing training within the Order; keeping the men both physically and mentally disciplined is a task nigh as important as leading the men into the field. Medic(1) Medics are men and women skilled in first aid and medicinal practices. They are often people from outside, barber surgeons and the like, and serve to aid the injured and sick amongst the Order. =To Join= To enter into the Order of the Hallowed Flame, one must fill out the form of application below and submit it to the Grandmaster (post below or PM Mingpow/Bagley on the forums). OOC MC Name: Skype User: IC Name: Age: Race: Prior Merits and Service: Do you understand that as an Initiate, your actions do not represent the Order of the Hallowed Flame? Do you agree to submit yourself to the Hierarchy of the Order, and in doing such, serve with loyalty undying to both your superiors and to Owyn himself? If your station within the Order is withstanding, fill out the latter document. IC Name: Age: Rank: Ethnicity:
  6. The Order of the Hallowed Flame And the Brotherhood of Owyn’s Torchbearers =The Order’s History= Late into the year of 1520, the Order of the Hallowed Flame was founded by the Magnate of Kaedrin, Cantonus Chivay. Upon the advice of the lord Arstan Bedell, a zealous Owynist through and through, he embraced the faith and took upon the fiery sun of Owyn and his dogma as the sigil of a new creed - a militant force dedicated to the pursuit of justice and these ideals laid out before him by the young baron. At the Order’s core sit the wilted remnants of the Flaming Rose, and other true-hearted Kaedreni men who look to a better future. Zealous followers of the Holy Fire all, they heartily embrace the teachings of the Second Flame and their dogma that was once praised by Owyn Godwinson himself. At the core of their belief sits a unbridled hatred for the Harrenites - the shattered remnants of the tyrant Harren’s bloodline. It was Owyn who first drove them from the lands of men, yet they continue to rear their ugly heads in the face of the true sons of Horen, something that shan’t go unpunished by the pious followers of Owyn the Arbiter. The Order of the Hallowed Flame stands as the militant fist of Kaedrin, and the dogma they hail. Holding vigil across the counties of Redmark, Hengfors and Kreden - they safeguard the peasantry and ensure that foreign incursions on Kaedrini soil are met in kind. Injustice across the Commonwealth is met with fire and steel, and those who would dare threaten the virtuous are put to the stake. Yet, their righteous crusade for the purging of all that is wicked and unjust does not end with the Harrenites. Maleficarum do not find solace in the wake of their march, nor do cultists of vile practices and dark creeds. Many a blasphemers have been put to the stake - burned aloft for all to spectate - at the hands of the most just. In this day and age, faith wanes, and rising to supplement it is the zeal and piety of Owyn’s adherents. A new age dawns, and it dawns in fire. =Tenets of the Hallowed Flame= The Order of the Hallowed Flame prides itself in discipline, and in this discipline comes a strict dogma in which each man is required to adhere to. I. Remain Eternally Faithful in Owyn and the Holy Fire It is he, Blessed Owyn, that guides our steel, and his Holy Fire that assures our salvation when we pass on to the otherworld. Never lose faith in Him and His Flame, for to do so would spell doom. Without faith, we cannot ever hope to succeed, and we shall fail as those who came before us have. Faith is our weapon, so wield it true. II. Tolerate not the Half-bred Mongrel, for he is Unclean Each man is required to show no sympathies towards those of mixed blood. And why would they? Owyn led man against the Harrenites, and to accept one into our fold today? A ludicrous notion, and the mere mention of such is a betrayal of our belief. III. Shun the Heathen, who does not love Owyn as We If the basis of our order is built upon the reverence of Owyn, then we must hasten to spread his teachings across the realm. And to those who openly shun his ways, they are no better than the mongrels who lay with elves and pray before trees. Death to him, in the most righteous of fire. IV. Respect your Fellows, who live and die aside Ye At the core of any order is tried-and-true camaraderie. Fight not amongst yourselves, but find it within to make brotherly ties with your fellow soldier. For mutual respect and friendship make a man fight harder on the field to battle, in defense of their comrade. V. Follow your Superiors with Unquestionable Loyalty A matter which affects the discipline of the rank-and-file soldier is the faith he puts into his officers. If there is a lack of faith therein, men are more likely rout when push comes to shove on the field of battle. To allow doubt to fester is to defy Owyn’s teachings. Have faith, for your commanders always know best. VI. Never Falter in the Face of the Enemy To parade fear in the ranks, and to quiver before a foe is the greatest dishonor known. Have faith, for the Fire safeguards us against sword and lance. Falter not, and remain as a redoubt before your foemen and you will have no trouble in dispatching them. =Religious Devotion= No evil can survive the Holy Fire; The Holy Fire enlightens, burns and cleanses. Behold the flame of grace and mercy. True to it’s name, the Order of the Hallowed Flame elevates the Exalted Hero Owyn above all else. For he is their paragon; the embodiment of all things good in the mortal realm, and a righteous emblem of purity and justice shining ablaze alike the sun. Their reverence of him coincides with the reverence of his Holy Fire - sacrifice and prayer are commonplace, and many a men of the Order gather about a brazier at dusk to sing their aves and plead blessings for themselves, their brothers-in-arms and even their fellows - non-believers of the truest caliber who hold a skewed view on Owyn - one which does not align with the beliefs of fire. This faith in Owyn, however, also breeds a hatred for all things of tainted bloodlines. It was Exalted Owyn who brought fire and steel upon the motley of Harrenites underneath his uncle who claimed themselves, truly, to be better than chosen man, those blessed sons of Horen himself who carried with them the harshest curse of them all. Doomed to live a mortal life, doomed to repeat the mistakes of yore. “Tolerate not the Half-bred mongrel” is a statement fresh upon the mind of many ordermen, and this deep-seated hatred is like to remain so long as their faith in Owyn does. At the pinnacle of their trust and faith bestowed upon Owyn is a single ritual practice that makes them starkly different from their peers. The smell of charred flesh is not a pleasant one, yet, all men are commanded to give to the fire, to fan it’s embers. To burn a foeman at the pyre is an act unmeasured in both piety and callousness. Ofttimes, the screams are what give a man his nightmares, yet those of the Order have grown accustomed to it nigh on a daily basis, and that which would make a lesser man’s stomach churn only empowers the son of Kaedrin with fervor and zeal. =Hierarchy of the Order of the Hallowed Flame= -SENIOR COMMAND- Grandmaster The Grandmaster holds supreme command over the entirety of the Order, whose orders are to be followed without question and doubt. This office is to be held until death, and provided that the Grandmaster had not designated an heir, the Master and Commanders shall convene and appoint another through discussion and vote. Master and Commander The Master and Commander typically presides over a single garrison of the Order, responsible for the upkeep and ability of his men. When stationed with the main force, they may also operate a limited portion of the Order or carry out a certain task on behalf of the Grandmaster. -HIGH COMMAND- Captain The Captain is the head of all footmen, in charge of their pay, discipline, and equipment. He will lead the column of men during march, a task which requires patience and prowess in command. Due to the extensive work this position entails, the holder will often be consulted by the Grandmaster upon matters of tactic and war. Senior Knight The Senior Knight is considered a high honor within the Order, the position itself requiring the member in question to be an official Knight of Oren. Commonly, they will serve as advisors to members of Senior Command for their thorough knowledge of all things chivalrous and related to faith. They are allowed to take upon a single squire who will be responsible in aiding him in a matter deem fit, whether that be through combat or the maintenance of his equipment. Decurion The Decurion is a high ranking officer within the Order, tasked with helping the Captain carry out his command of the infantry. They are one of the most veteran Order members, and thus will have numerous responsibilities and duties which are important to the overall functionality of the Order. -LOW COMMAND- Knight The Knight is a seasoned Kaedreni warrior whose faith has been tested through numerous years of dedication to the Order and Owyn. Similar to the Senior Knight, they too are required to be a Knight of Oren. Ensign The Ensign is an entry-tier officer, working directly under the command of the Decurion in order to assure that the battle line remains steadfast. He holds the authority to call upon and command a small detachment of the ordermen. -ENLISTED ORDER MEMBERS- Man-at-arms The Man-At-Arms is the rank-and-file soldier of the Order. Equipped with castle-forged steel and a higher salary than that of their footmen counterparts, they have been enlisted into the ranks for a significant amount of time, and are often promoted on the basis of merit or loyal service. Footman The Footman is the entry-level enlisted soldier. Given a bunk, an annual salary and armed with mail and steel, these men make up the backbone of the order and are by far the most numerous amongst its ranks. Discipline is expected, and those who step out of line are punished severely. -UNOATHED- Initiate Initiate is the overarching label for all men associated with the Order whom aspire to enter into her ranks, though have yet to speak their oaths and enter officially into the ranks. -SPECIALIZED RANKS- Messenger(2) Messengers are deployed across the realm, to carry letters and parcels to and from. Ofttimes, swift individuals are granted this position - unoathed or from a pool of lower ranked members. Scrivener(1) The Scrivener is the individual responsible for penning all documents pertaining to the Order. They are responsible for handling the maintaining of the roster and documenting all reports regarding patrols, incidents and so on. Engineer(2) Individuals learned in the matters of siege warfare. These men are trusted as siege masters, and are tasked to design and construct weapons of war to topple walls and bring cities to their knees. Quartermaster(1) The Quartermaster is in charge of keeping the flow of goods, and armaments, documented. They are required to keep the Order well-armed and the warehouse stocked in the case of an external shortage. Drillmaster(1) A grizzled ensign or Knight, more often than not, the Drillmaster is tasked with overseeing training within the Order; keeping the men both physically and mentally disciplined is a task nigh as important as leading the men into the field. Medic(1) Medics are men and women skilled in first aid and medicinal practices. They are often people from outside, barber surgeons and the like, and serve to aid the injured and sick amongst the Order. =To Join= To enter into the Order of the Hallowed Flame, one must fill out the form of application below and submit it to the Grandmaster (post below or PM Tirenas on the forums). OOC MC Name: Skype User: IC Name: Age: Race: Prior Merits and Service: Do you understand that as an Initiate, your actions do not represent the Order of the Hallowed Flame? Do you agree to submit yourself to the Hierarchy of the Order, and in doing such, serve with loyalty undying to both your superiors and to Owyn himself?
  7. ARSTAN BEDELL "I have yet to know fear. The Craven knows not faith and it is my faith that shields me." Age: 19 Gender: Male. Race: Human, Highlander. Status: Alive. Height: 6’2 ft. Weight: 208 lbs. Appearance: Golden ringlets, fair skin and sullen cheeks with high bones for a noble's face, Arstan is by no means the comeliest of fellows; or rather, recent events attest to his once good looking charm. While not too hard on the eyes, the years - despite his relative youth - have worn him down. Bearing the broad stature of his father, Alexander the Wyrmsbane, Arstan stands tall with a powerful build, imposing and befitting the son of such a character. He maintains a fairly well-kempt appearance, hair regularly combed and his face clean shaven. Constitution: A stranger to many a customs of the Kingdom of Oren, having been far too long apart from the realm - raised at the Castle Arves, as a squire to his uncle Mathis - Arstan is oblivious to the true nature of Oren and her many intrigues. His knowledge mostly springs from hear say, exaggerated tales and the continued bantering of his elders to a fact better learned, else one be declared ignorant. Despite his noble posture, he moves with an open gait and speaks bluntly, if not abruptly; though one good thing springs from this, his decree - amongst his subjects - is not usually ignored, and it's a respect demanding submission. Though, for a childhood in the hands of a priestly hands, he works honestly and it's shown in his stature. Arstan is in good health, maintaining an active lifestyle through the pursuit of hunting and martial training. Personality: An education and a guiding hand under the care of Anduin has given Arstan an aptitude for honesty and many other virtues heralded by Owynism. Perhaps among the most honest of the Bedells for all their reputation's worth, perhaps there's no one better to take up the name. Though, kindness has ofttimes been a woe for the family, as was present with the crippled Mathis. A deadly combination to his honesty is his blunt approach, which can sometimes prove less than fruitful for the young Arstan. Other traits do as well come with guidance under a Priest of Fire; zealotry and piety among them. He is, by all means, a student of the philosophy and a zeal burns in his heart. Life Style Alignment: Lawful Neutral. Religion: Owynism. Nation: Oren. Class: Noble Titles: Count of Redmark, Lord of the Castle Rhosden. Profession: Master and Commander Flaws: Arstan is rather curt with his words, and his lack of tact oftimes leaves a poor first impression. He is, by all means, a very devout individual with an unbridled zeal which drives him in his belief, something which impedes on his day-to-day decisions and shapes him as a person, for better or worse. Biography Parents: Alexander Bedell, Ethel Bedell (nee Rohesia) Siblings: Mathis Bedell II, Francis Thorne, Ethel Bedell Children: N/A Extended Family: Robert Bedell (Cousin), Edwyle Bedell (Cousin), Alys Bedell (Cousin), Hadrian Thorne (Cousin), Mathis Bedell (Uncle) History Arstan was born the lesser of twins; one of the only two trueborn sons born from the seed of the Wyrmsbane. He was sent to Arves in his very early youth, alongside his siblings, to be sheltered from the brewing conflict that came to rise with the Lucienist Order denouncing King Francis. He was to be taught under the will and guidance of the Owynist Priest Anduin, and become the man Alexander was not; one of his only and last acts of good to his name outside of glory, for not Bedell; but himself. It was there that Arstan was raised and instilled with good, Kaedreni values to a man and served as a squire under a handful of knights; though, his worth as a scion of the lesser line of Bedell was not forgotten and he was treated well, even beyond the fall of Oren and the death of his father, Alexander. There, he carved his name out as a skilled warrior and Knight, winning several tourneys in honor of his uncle. Though even the most swayful hand could not keep him, nor his brother, from their fiery ambition, and the name of Bedell. In the twilight of his house, he - alongside the both of his brothers, embarked for Oren with a handful of retainers and an envoy of his uncle in the form of his eldest son at their side. They struck landfall; pledging their blades and swearing homage before the Magnate of Kaedrin. For this, they were granted a holdfast in the south - Roseden - where Arstan rules from in these tumultuous times of civil war, pressing on in the restoration of the legacy of his name. Artwork:
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